You can’t get any more Californian than a seafood place called Bear Flag. Proudly representin’ that flag!
Honestly, I haven’t found a place in Orange County that serves exceptional seafood along with such a relaxed environment. When I’m craving some good seafood, this is the place I go to located in Newport Beach on the Peninsula, as well as their other location on Pacific Coast Highway in Crystal Cove and Huntington Beach.
The white subway tile walls that make up the entire building, along with lacquered wood, leave it feeling open, airy, and very nautical. Almost like you’re drifting out to sea. In a good way, of course.
Alongside the restaurant that opened in 2007 by a local fisherman and his father, sits a small fish market where you can purchase any kind of seafood to take home and fry up on the grill. You can find wild salmon, ahi tuna, octopus, sea urchin, and many more varieties of ocean friends.
They even offer their favorite recipes for all their seafood. I’m no Julia Child, but even I want to take on the Alaskan Halibut with Bear Flag Strawberry, Tangerine, and Fresh Basil Salsa.
And the best part about Bear Flag is they buy local from “guys who have the best fish,” making sure everything is fresh day of and you know what you’re getting.
If you want to try everything from their appetizers to soups and salads to entrees, here’s a pre-made menu of items I would suggest:
Appetizers – Their chips and guac are to die for! I would even add on a serving of their ahi poke to dip these chips into.
Soups and Salads
– The New England Clam Chowder in a bread bowl. Holy cats! If this is what New England tastes like, then it’s time for a move. This is probably their best item on the menu.
Entrees – Offerings of tacos, burritos, sandwiches, and salads fill the menu. I’ve tried them all and I would have to say their burritos win by just a nose in popularity. All burritos and tacos are filled with a typical Panko crusted white fish, or you can choose your own favorite filling. They all come with avocado, lettuce, pico de gallo, (rice and black beans in the burrito) and what they call Tommy sauce. Impeccable.
This time around, I tried their fresh seafood salad with their Fish of the Day, Blackened Seared Albacore. Absolutely perfect if you’re looking for something lighter.
You also don’t want to forget about their Daily Specials Mon-Thurs, which feature $2 Taco Tuesdays and drink specials on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Any time you’re going out for seafood the quality could be a hit or miss. But the reason I love this place so much is because I can trust that quality will be there every time. It is apparent that the owners truly care about what they serve. I can relax knowing that this will always be a good culinary choice.
Bear Flag Fish Co.
(3421 Via Lido, Newport Beach, CA // 949.673.3474)